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NEWS FIX — Rio Olympics: Legal Doping Leads to Controversy — Aug. 11, 2016

News Fix is a weekly feature on Drug Treatment Center Finder that brings you the top stories in addiction and recovery in a quick, easy-to-read format. This roundup will give you the latest news from all over the world and maybe even in your neck of the woods, so be sure to check back regularly for updates.

Study: 1 in 5 Opioid Users Might Be Abusing Seizure Drug

Researchers analyzed test results of 323 patients who were prescribed opioid medication and found nearly one in five patients tested positive for gabapentin (Neurontin), an anti-epileptic medication that is used in adults to treat nerve pain caused by herpes virus or shingles, according to Drugs.com.

The study also found of the patients taking the medication illicitly or without a prescription, 56 percent were taking it with an opioid, 27 percent with an opioid and muscle relaxer or anxiety medication, and the remaining patients were combining it with other substances.

The results were presented on Aug. 3 at the American Association for Clinical Chemistry’s (AACC) annual meeting in Philadelphia. Doctors were warned to closely monitor patients who had a history of drug abuse and were prescribed gabapentin,reports DrugAbuse.com.

According to the Drug Abuse Warning Network, between 2008 and 2011, there was a fivefold increase in emergency room visits for people who had abused or misused gabapentin.

Although, the drug poses little to no threat when used alone, it increases the high felt by opioid abusers when combined with Valium or Xanax.

Fed Rule Allows Doctors to Treat More Opioid Patients with Buprenorphine

Doctors are now able to prescribe more buprenorphine.A new federal rule is allowing certified physicians to treat up to 275 patients—up from 100 patients— with buprenorphine, a less-potent opioid that helps curb cravings and withdrawal.

The US Department of Health and Human Services is expanding access to the drug, especially in rural regions where resources for opioid treatment were diminishing as the wait lists for treatment got longer.

Now, doctors will have the ability to treat more patients with Suboxone, a mix between naloxone, an opioid reversal medication, and buprenorphine, in areas such as the Ohio Valley.

Though, some remain skeptical about medically assisted treatment (MAT), a recent study published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment found that those treated with methadone or buprenorphine were less likely to relapse, according toWFPL.org.

Dr. Joseph Gay, executive director of Health Recovery Services, remains hopeful that MAT is pivotal to help the government’s fight against the opioid epidemic.

“For every client we saw with an opiate problem in the year 2000, we have 50 walk through the door today,” Gay told WFPL, based in Louisville, Ky. “Going to the MAT: Government and Science Back Medication-Assisted Treatment.” “The science is pretty clear. There’s still a lot of resistance to MAT.”

Cocaine-Addiction Vaccine Offers New Hope to Struggling Addicts

City researchers in New York have developed a new vaccine that could possibly reverse the effects of cocaine in addicts, reports theNew York Post.

The drug, also known as a dAdGNE vaccine, was designed to have similar effects as heroin withdrawal treatments, such as methadone and Suboxone. The vaccine was developed at Weill Cornell Medicine and New York Presbyterian Hospital, where it was previously tested on rodents.

The drug is purposed to activate the immune system to release antibodies on the cocaine crystals, otherwise undetected by the body, and “gobble them up like Pac-Man,” said chief investigator and chair of Genetic Medicine at Weill Cornell, Dr. Ronald Crystal, in the NYP article.

The federal government has given researchers at Weill the go-ahead to begin testing the vaccine on humans.

Funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and National Institutes of Health (NIH), the program will enroll 30 cocaine addicts in a three-year clinical study.

Former Addict Rides Across Canada to Raise Opioid Addiction Awareness

Chris Cull rode across Canada to raise awareness on opioid addictionsChris Cull, aformer opioid addict, embarked on his second bike ride from Vancouver, British Columbia,  to Halifax, Nova Scotia,  to raise awareness of opioid use disorder.

Cull, a spokesperson for ORBeOK.ca, a Canadian campaign that raises opioid addiction awareness, was previously featured in a movie in 2014, during his first journey across Canada. Cull says his carelessness when using painkillers was a big mistake because it eventually led to an addiction.

Currently, more than 360,000 Canadians are dependent on prescription drugs, and the country was named the No. 1 consumer in the world for opioid painkillers, according to the World Health Organisation.

Cull arrived at one of his final stops last Tuesday before ending his three-month long bike ride in Halifax, reports Global News.

Rio Olympic Athletes Taking Advantage of ‘Legal Doping,’ NPR reports

Since certain prescription drugs were not banned until Maria Sharapova admitted to using a heart drug known as meldonium back in March, some Olympic athletes may have slipped under the radar for legal performance-enhancement drugs.

According to anNPR article, legal doping involves the use of legal drugs that has not yet been banned by the anti-doping agency.

Meldonium was banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in January, which made Sharapova ineligible to compete in the Olympics. But, since the ban, low levels of the drug have been found in the tests of more than 100 athletes competing in sports such as tennis, swimming, cycling, rugby, rowing, and volleyball.

Another prescription drug that is being monitored by WADA is telmisartan, a blood-pressure medication that helps improve blood flow.

“You improve blood flow, you improve oxygen getting to the muscles that you want,” Ronald Evans, an investigator for the Howard Hughes Medical Center, said in the article. “Therefore, it’s good for performance.”

Feds: Sea Cucumbers Used to Hide Heroin, Fentanyl Sent to NY

A drug scandal involving a former Mexican mayor was caught transporting drugs hidden in sea cucumber pallets across the country.In what is being considered a historic drug bust in Buffalo, NY, a federal grand jury has indicted 17 people in connection to an international drug conspiracy, reports ABC News affiliate,WKBW.

According to federal investigators, the organization was able to ship pallets of heroin, fentanyl and cocaine marked as sea cucumbers to New York from California by setting up fictitious food businesses.

People involved in the scandal, including Jose Ruben Gil Campos, a former mayor in Mexico and high-profile businessman, are estimated to have funneled $20 million from West New York Banks back to California for the sale of narcotics within a year.

The defendants face a 30-count indictment charges, containing multiple drug offenses.

If convicted, all of the defendants face a minimum of 20 years in jail.

If you, or a loved one, are fighting substance abuse or drug and/or alcohol addiction, call Drug Treatment Center Finder at 1-855-619-8070 today. Our advisers are standing by 24-7, ready to help you find a treatment program that will suit your needs and put you on the path to a new recovery and a new life. Make today a new beginning.

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